Monday, 6 March 2017

E.E. Lightning F.6 1/48th Scale With Extras WIP #2

Now for a big catch up on the Lightning project. 

Except for when I was working on the Spitfire for the last month, my main attention has been on the Lightning F.6. But a bit of time was also spent on the McLaren F1 to, that will be covered in a seperate post. Adding all of this extra resin detailing parts, does extend the build time of a project, especially when the manufacturer does not supply instructions on how to adapt the model to accept the aftermarket parts. It is all trial and error!

In the last post on this project, I had brought you up to the point of number 2 engine bay cut out and fitted. The next stage was to fit the electronics bays onto the fuselage. The first one was along the spine just in front of number 2 engine. Once the door sections were cut away from the fuselage halves and cleaned up to accept the resin door, the process of fitting the panel with various components on needed its mounting to be worked out.The easiest method was to use some lengths of angled plastistruct as brackets for the panel to sit on. After some sanding, the panel was able to sit in between the fuselage sides low enough down and flush.

Included in the electronics set, was two compartments to fit along the side of the fuselage. First I had to identify the access panels on the fuselage, as the sets instructions did not match up to the fuselage. But using books and photographs online,  I had managed to match up the correct access panels on the model and started to cut them out. The resin compartment boxes were then glued in position inside the fuselage and any gaps filled in.

 The next stage to tackle was the control surfaces. The wings had replacement parts for both flaps and ailerons, of which the flap was a straight swap for the kit part. The ailerons were moulded into the wing upper surfaces, thus needed to be cut out of this part to accept the resin replacement. When checking the resin aileron up to the wing, I notice a difference in size between the resin aileron and the moulded one on the wing. The resin part was slightly shorter than the one on the kit, so the new aileron was marked out on the wing, cut out and original panel lines filled and sanded. The gap now exposed to the rear of the opening was filled with a strip of plasticard to strengthen the joint between the upper and lower halves of the wings.

The same problem was found with the flaps, being slightly shorter than the kit flaps. But this was easier to rectify by adding a thin strip of plasticard to the outer end of the flap opening on the wing.  

Before assembling the wing halves together, the resin undercarriage bay had to be fitted inside each wing. The only problem here is that the bays are more than 4mm thickand the deepest space between the two wing surfaces inside was 3.5mm. So before removing the moulded parts of the bays from the kit parts, I measured their depths, noted how they curved and which way the curve went. I first cleaned up one wing allowing me to use the other as a reference, then started to file and sand the resin bay to shape. After several test fittings and adjustments, I was happy with how the bay sat inside the wing. I repeated the process for the other wing then once this was finished and I rechecked both bays, they were glued into their positions on the inside of the lower wing surfaces. Below is one of the resin bays before I glued it into the wing. 

Now that the bays were fitted, I assembled the two wing halves together and fitted the flaps and ailerons to each wing in the positions I wanted to set them to on the model. The resin undercarriage bays are a vast improvement in detail compared to the moulded kit bays.

Now that the wings were finished, I moved onto the tail and replacing the rudder on it. This was a straight forward where the moulded rudder was cut away and the edges cleaned up ready to accept the resin rudder. Again I posed the rudder at a slight angle to give it some life, just as if the ground crew was checking the aircraft's control surfaces. I think I might need to get some ground crew figures to go with this model now!

I will finish this post up with the intake section. In the selection of resin part sets, I received a replacement radar unit and front undercarriage bay. This is a two piece set consisting of the bay and radar as one piece, then the shock cone as a separate piece. First the moulded undercarriage bay had to be removed from the intake halves before joining them together. Once this had dried, I could then start filing the opening to accept the replacement part. After some test fits and adjustments, the bay and radar unit fitted correctly inside the intake without the need to use any plasticard to fill gaps. Before I painted the intake and resin part prior to assembly, I drill out some of the waste resin from inside the radar unit and shock cone in case I had to add some weight into them further down the line. After painting, the radar/bay part was glued in position inside the intake.

That is this installment for now and I with continue with more postings of this project very soon. Any comments or questions are appreciated.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb Airfix Sea Rescue "Start to Finish"

Over the last month and a bit, it has been very busy with the setting up of a new model club with three other modellers local to myself. During this period, we took a trip over to the Bolton show where I caught up with a friend. We chatted about the recent release of new paints and Alclad's Mil-Spec came up in the conversation. Over the next couple of days, I got thinking about our chat and thought about seeing how the paint is to use. I already had the RAF late WWII set and interior green that I purchased at Telford last year. So using this as an excuse for a break from the Lightning, I went through the easy accessible stash for a kit to use for trying the paint out on. So out from the pile came one of my Airfix Club Specialist Spitfires for the project. Unfortunately, with the setting up of the club and quick progress of the model, I have not got any WIP posts done so the whole project from start to finish is covered in one post. 

First stage of construction was the cockpit interior to ready it for painting. Once the main sections were built, I gave them a coat of primer before painting them with the Mil-Spec British interior green. The sections were finished with some wear and tear before adding some Eduard super fabric seat belts. 

 Once the cockpit unit was finished, assembly of the fuselage and wing started at a steady pace up to the point of fitting the front cockpit section of the fuselage. This was when I noticed the step between the engine cover and the cockpit section, which was not a good thing to have on the model. So, I masked off the raised detail to prevent any damage to it and spread some white putty on top of the engine cover. Once this was dry, I sanded the putty until the new profile matched the higher area of the cockpit section. The panel line between these two sections was re-scribed before work continued with assembly.

Construction continued to get the Spitfire up to the stage for primer and pre-shading without any further issues. This version has the clipped wings, which Airfix supply two end sections to fit on the tips after the elliptic tip were cut away from the upper wing surfaces.One set is in the same colour plastic as the kit, but the others are in clear plastic, which the instructions said to use. To save me from masking the clear tips up, I cut off the navigation light sections away from the coloured plastic tips and glued them onto the wings instead of the clear ones. Then at the end of the build, cut the light sections off from the clear plastic tips and glue them into position on the wings. 

Painting started on the camouflage with the Mil-Spec paint with the RAF Ocean Grey areas. First I drew out a faint shape of the scheme with pencil and then freehand the grey over these areas. With this being the first time I have used this paint, I noticed that the needle kept clogging up after a period of painting. I messaged my friend Mark Davey for his advice and he told me that he sprayed the paint with his air pressure set at 12psi or below. I did this and the clogging problem ceased.

Once the grey had dried, I masked the edges with blutac worms and masking tape, then sprayed the RAF Dark Green. The grey and green was touched up by freehand with the air pressure turned down below 10psi and paint flow reduced to. The top half was masked again to allow the underside to be sprayed with RAF Medium Sea Grey followed by the Sky band around the fuselage and yellow strips along the main wing leading edges. The propeller was given a coat of Sky the same time when I did the band around the fuselage, followed by the yellow tips on the blades and the remainder in black. Once all of this paint was dry, the model received a couple of coats of gloss clear.

The exhausts were quick and simple to paint. First, I gave them a coat of Alclad's Steel followed by Alclad's Exhaust Manifold to tone them down. Next I dry brushed them first with Dark Rust and then Light Rust from Vallejo. Simple but effective.

The decals were now added to the Spitfire fuselage and propeller then sealed with another coat of gloss clear. Not too many on these period aircraft compared to some of the more modern examples.

Weathering started by first adding the smoke staining from the guns, shell ejection holes and exhaust areas. Next the exhausts themselves received some staining before being glued in place on the nose. For the smoke staining I use soot coloured paint via the airbrush. Grime streaks were added using AK Interactive's Grime Streaks and three brown shades in oil paints. The next stage was to add the chipped and worn paint to areas on the wing walkways, gun/cannon hatches, wing leading edges, nose section, cockpit opening and propeller tip and blades. Now the model was given a coat of flat clear to protect the weathering. 

 Once the main weathering was completed, final assembly and detail painting was carried out up to the stage of where only the canopy sections and navigation lights needed painting and fitting to the model.

The Spitfire is now basically finished, except for a little blow over with some dirt/grime coloured paint through the airbrush once the navigation light have dried in place. The finishing touches of the weathering was some fuel stains around the filler cap in front of the cockpit and little oil leaks from various panels under the engine area. These are the little touches that add life to a model which would be otherwise be plan and boring. Plus these were only clean and pristine when manufactured or after a major overhaul.

Conclusion, with the Mil-Spec paints, I was quite impressed with them. Evan thought they are enamel paints, you use them straight from the bottle into the airbrush without thinning. There is not the usual smell that we use to get from spraying enamel paints form the past, and they dry very quickly to which is an extra bonus. At first I was not sure about the shade of the Dark green, thinking that it was too brown in its shade. But after seeing a paint chip in a book then comparing the model to it, I was happier. Will I buy any more colours from the Mil-Spec range? Yes I will.

Below I have placed my FR. Mk.XIVe along side the Mk.Vb to compare the paint shades. The Mk.XVI was painted using Xtracrylix paints and you can see how much greener it is against the green of the Mil-Spec painted Mk.Vb. Now that this project is finished, it is back to the Lightning.